[>talkflying] Review of the New Star Alliance Business Class Lounge Los Angeles (LAX) (Bentonville (XNA) – Tokyo Haneda (HND) Trip Report Part II)

By Kai-Chin Shih/ 8 AUG 2014/ TOKYOJAPAN/talkairlines.wordpress.com

This is the second part of a three part trip report. For the first part from Bentonville (XNA) to Los Angeles (LAX), please click HERE;  for the third part, consisting of my flying experience on ANA flight NH1005 from Los Angeles to Tokyo (Haneda), please click HERE.

The entrance

The entrance to the Star Alliance Business Class Lounge

The opulent Story Board

The opulent ‘Story Board’

The multi-media elevator tower that brought me to the lounge.

The elegantly designed ‘Time Tower’, an elevator tower with impressive media display

I had never flown on any Star Alliance member carriers to and from LAX. This flying experience with ANA allowed me to, for the first time ever, step into a Star Alliance flagship lounge. The Star Alliance LAX lounge, operated by Air New Zealand, was opened just about a year ago. The lounge was extremely comfortable and had many features that were rarely introduced by the airline industry in recent years.

The reception desk. Look closely for an EVA Air assistant, with only the head showing.

The reception desk. Look closely for an EVA Air assistant, with only the head showing.

Lounge proudly operated by Air New Zealand

Lounge proudly operated by Air New Zealand (The Star Alliance logo was badly made…)

Departing flights display. The Virgin Australia flight to Brisbane was delayed for quite a while that day.

Departing flights display. The Virgin Australia flight to Brisbane was delayed for quite a while that day.

Luggage Storage Area

Luggage Storage Area

Quote by Saint Augustine: The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.

Quote by Saint Augustine, Roman philosopher: The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.

The lounge, designed by Gensler architecture firm, featured multiple extremely varying seating areas. Besides the typical lounge-like areas, there were also the balcony overlooking the Great Hall and the extremely impressive outdoor terrace. Since the main seating area was rather boring, I chose to sit at the balcony area while occasionally switching to the terrace, which, in my opinion, was the greatest feature of the lounge.

View of the Great Hall from my seat at the balcony.

View of the breathtaking Great Hall from my seat on the balcony.

My seat had an individual lamp and multiple USB/ universal power outlets.

My seat had an individual lamp and multiple USB ports and universal power outlets.

Another view from my seat on the balcony

Another view from my seat on the balcony

The bar on the balcony, disappointingly with no bartenders at all during my visit.

The bar on the balcony, disappointingly, with no bartenders at all during my visit.

A shot featuring the Great Hall centre stores and the famous TBIT multimedia wall.

A shot featuring the Great Hall centre stores and the famous TBIT (Tom Bradley International Terminal) Story Board.

Free Wi-Fi was offered throughout the lounge. Log In information could be found on every desk.

Log-in Page

Log In Page

The buffet areas were located inside the main seating area. Spoiled by Northeast Asian lounges with heavenly food, I was rather disappointed by the food offering at the Star Alliance Lounge. There were limited choices, all rather unappetising.

Right before I left, bowls of Shin Ramen were placed near the tea and coffee area. I found it rather astonishing how the only Asian food many American lounges had was instant noodles. I don’t deny that I love Shin Ramen myself. However, it gives me chills just imagining myself slurping the noodles down my throat in an airport lounge and the horrible breath from my mouth after I finish eating.

(Nevertheless, I saw a young Asian man enjoying his Shin Ramen soundingly when I was walking out.)

The main seating area

The main seating area

Seats next to the buffet area

Seats next to the buffet area

The food offerings

The food offerings

My plate of food

My plate of food

The main seating area

The main seating area

There was a media room that was supposed to be playing news or sports. Guess what was being played when I arrived? Family Guy!

The Media Room

The Media Room

The spacious and modern restroom

The spacious and modern restroom

Eager to try out every feature of the lounge, I decided to go take a shower. Decorated with large pots of plants, the entrance area acted as the designer’s initial attempt to let flyers relax completely. After entering the shower area, I signed in before being directed into a shower room by an assistant.

The entrance to the shower area

The entrance to the shower area

The sign-in desk

The sign-in desk

Corridor to all the shower rooms

Corridor to all the shower rooms

The sink and toilet within my shower room

The sink and toilet within my shower room

The shower

The shower

Bathing products provided by Soaptopia

Bathing products provided by Soaptopia

The shower experience was wonderful, allowing me to totally calm down before boarding the plane. One small disappointment was that the hairdryer was not working, and the lounge failed to pre-obtain additional ones. Thank god I forgot to wash my hair while taking the shower.

After taking my bath, I proceeded towards the most unique feature of the Star Alliance LAX Lounge: the outdoor terrace. When I entered the area, I was immediately taken away by the beauty of it. Surrounded by the grandiose TBIT terminal, the terrace featured cozy sofas, tables with flames, a water wall, and a bar area. The tarmac, the northern runway, and many other terminals can be seen through the glass walls on the edge of the terrace.

Initial view of the terrace

Initial view of the terrace

A few of the many seats

A few of the many seats (Table-with-flames in the middle)

The special table with flames (Not really suitable for the summer weather though...)

The table-with-flames (Not really suitable for the summer weather though…)

The bar area

The bar area

Another shot of the bar area

Another shot of the bar area

A Fiji Airways jet A330 visible from the terrace

A Fiji Airways A330-300 visible from the terrace

Looking at TBIT from the terrace

Looking at TBIT from the terrace

Another shot of TBIT

Another shot of TBIT

The seats on the terrace

The seats on the terrace with TBIT in the background

After spending a few hours at the lounge, I decided to leave so I can explore the newly built TBIT. The Star Alliance Lounge gave me an exceptional experience. The overall design was impressive and breathtakingly beautiful. Even though the food offerings were not pleasing, there were plenty of beverage offerings, including many choices of alcoholic drinks, tea packs, and soft drinks. The different seating areas makes the lounge invincible from becoming boring to frequent users.

In conclusion, if the lounge operators hire a consultant for the buffet area, the lounge will no doubt be among the top ones in the world.

Please click HERE for the final part of the trip report (ANA NH1005 LAX-HND) and HERE for the previous part of the trip report (American Eagle (Envoy) AA2913 XNA-LAX).

tripreport

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5 thoughts on “[>talkflying] Review of the New Star Alliance Business Class Lounge Los Angeles (LAX) (Bentonville (XNA) – Tokyo Haneda (HND) Trip Report Part II)

  1. Pingback: [>talkflying] Bentonville (XNA) – Tokyo Haneda (HND) Part III: ANA (All Nippon Airways) NH1005 LAX – HND/ Premium Economy Class Trip Report | >talkairlines | >Kai-Chin Shih TALK

  2. Pingback: [>talkflying] Bentonville (XNA) – Tokyo Haneda (HND) Part I: American Eagle (Envoy) AA2913 XNA – LAX | >talkairlines | >Kai-Chin Shih TALK

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